Sojourn Through Time
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by Susanne Marie Knight
Description: What happens when a nearly betrothed duke discovers an unexpected "package" delivered to his estate?
eBook Publisher: Awe-Struck E-Books/Awe-Struck E-Books, Inc., 2008 2008
eBookwise Release Date: October 2008
29 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [201 KB]
Reading time: 114-160 min.
"Recommended Read! Alex was a joy to read. The Regency era of London is so stuffy. Alex was not, and made no bones about it. She wasn't a brainless wonder dropped into a situation. She's a smart, resourceful woman who defines her situation, and moves on. No hysterics. No "who is going to save me?" Sit back and enjoy this "clean" romance." Reviewed by Christine for Simply Romance Reviews. "Clever, fascinating and highly entertaining! Susanne Knight breathes life into endearing characters in unusual situations that give emphasis to the word UNUSUAL. A must read." Reviewed by Aya29 for Euro-Reviews. 5 STARS
His appetite lost, he bypassed the soup to reach for his wine goblet.
Olivia duplicated his actions. "I did so hope to see ... Yes! Here she is now!"
For once his aunt succeeded in capturing his attention. He looked up as his intended mistress had the effrontery to enter the state dining room. The cabernet wine, dry and fruity, almost caught in his throat. Good Lord, the woman was beautiful, he could admit that. Her eyes, heavy and sensuous, had a sultry quality about them. Yet her tentative demeanor as she stood by the doors reminded him of an innocent fawn, unaware of the ways of the world. A delicate flush of pink graced her still pale cheeks, and other than a slight swelling at her jaw line and white bandage peeking out from under her hair, she appeared the picture of health.
Miss Stanford wore one of his late wife's gowns, a simple unbleached muslin dress completely unsuitable for dinner attire. Indeed, it was more appropriate for a walk about the gardens. The hem of the gown, designed to brush the floor, swayed uneasily by the woman's ankles. A modest sight, to be sure, however his pulse began to race.
But the audacity of the woman consumed him. For her to take it upon herself to actually consider dining with him and his virtuous aunt was exceedingly improper in the extreme.
"Hello," murmured his predestined light o'love. "I'm sorry I'm late. Mary and I had a tough time picking out a dress that would fit."
The thought of her revealing apparel when he had found her teased him as a side of beef teased a hungry dog. However, strict decorum had to be maintained. He quickly squelched his unseemly desires. "Miss Stanford, what is the meaning of this--"
"Stuff and nonsense!" exclaimed Olivia. She stood and escorted the woman over to the table. "Come, you must sit and rest yourself. We did wait for you, but Malcolm tends to become irritable if he has not eaten, you know."
The devil! "Indeed, Aunt?" He spoke slowly, to convey his displeasure. "Am I to understand you invited Miss Stanford to join us?"
Olivia signaled to a footman for another place setting. "Yes, of course, Malcolm. Miss Stanford is our guest, is she not?"
There could be no polite rejoinder to his aunt's question so he refrained from commenting.
The woman flashed an expressive glance from him to Olivia, then lowered her gaze to concentrate on the soup. "Thank you for your kind hospitality, um, sir. Unfortunately, I still can't remember what happened to me. Could you please tell me how I got here?"
Olivia strained his already waning patience by speaking first. "Quite a story that is, am I not correct, Malcolm? Your arrival has certainly thrown this household into an uproar! Gracious me, whatever were you doing, you poor dear, dressed so outrageously?"
To give the woman credit, she blushed furiously. "Please, I must know what happened. This is all so strange."
As they ate, her dark eyes pleaded with him, once again, to come to her rescue. The first time was with the bloodletting episode; evidently the feel of leeches against her smooth skin did not agree with her. Intelligent woman. Personally, he thought it an abhorrent practice. Now this, her appeal for information.
He would humor her. After all, not only was she pleasing to look at but she was also well behaved. If he had not seen her previous attire, he would have believed her to be a lady. "A thunderous noise attracted my attention, Miss Stanford, coming from the outlying lands of my estate, in the woods. I found you almost buried under some rubble."
"Bleeding profusely, you know," Olivia interrupted. "And, I might add, scarcely clothed! My, my yes. Sara said your bare legs were--"
"Aunt." Malcolm's voice brooked no argument. "You are making Miss Stanford uncomfortable."
He was rewarded for his efforts with the woman's demure smile, and for some peculiar reason, his heart beat faster.
"Did you find anyone else?" the woman questioned.
"Only you, Miss Stanford."
"I see." She dabbed at her lips with a napkin, obviously finished with her meal. "So you put me in your car and brought me here?"
"Time was of the essence, Miss Stanford. Rather than return to the Manor for a carriage, I carried you on my horse." Odd the way she abbreviated the word "carriage." Indeed, most everything about her was odd.
"Carriage!" she repeated, turning a weak shade of green.
"Tsk-tsk! Now we have done it; overtaxing poor Alexandra so. I have an excellent idea. Let us leave Malcolm to his port while you and I make ourselves comfortable in the blue salon. Then, when you are done, Malcolm, you can join us." She stood and held out her hand to the woman. "Come along, dear."